Taylor, Hokies Smash Florida State 40-21

Florida State........  6  0 15  0 - 21
Virginia Tech (11)...  6 14  0 20 - 40

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter
09:43 FS - Cismesia 41 yd FG
08:16 VT - Harper 31 yd pass from Taylor (Kick no good)
00:50 FS - Cismesia 39 yd FG

2nd Quarter
12:29 VT - Morgan 5 yd pass from Taylor (Dunlevy)
06:54 VT - Ore 2 yd run (Dunlevy)

3rd Quarter
11:00 FS - Cismesia 50 yd FG
09:06 FS - Watson 40 yd INT return (2-pt. failed)
03:41 FS - Fagg 8 yd pass from Ponder (2-pt. failed)

4th Quarter
10:10 VT - Taylor 3 yd run (2-pt. good)
05:32 VT - Dunlevy 22 yd FG
05:13 VT - Ellis 5 yd INT return (Dunlevy)
02:41 VT - TEAM safety

Frank Beamer finally beat Bobby Bowden, and he did it in a big way. Led by true freshman quarterback Tyrod Taylor, #11 Virginia Tech dominated the fourth quarter and routed Florida State 40-21 in Lane Stadium on Saturday. The Hokies moved to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the ACC with the win. Florida State dropped to 6-4 overall and 3-4 in ACC play.

This game was almost identical to Virginia Tech’s game against FSU in the National Championship Game. Except this time, the roles were reversed. The Hokies jumped out to a 20-6 lead at halftime, but found themselves trailing 21-20 at the end of the third quarter. Then Tech outscored FSU 20-0 in the fourth quarter. In the National Championship Game, the Hokies led by one after three quarters, but FSU scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Tyrod Taylor was the star of the game. After splitting time with Sean Glennon early, Taylor took over full time after Glennon was knocked out of the game. The true freshman finished the game 10-of-15 for 204 yards, with two touchdown passes and one interception. He was also Tech’s leading rusher, with 17 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Taylor’s favorite target was Justin Harper, who came through with the best game of his Virginia Tech career. Harper caught five passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. He had two long receptions to set up touchdowns, including the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The Hokies put up 395 yards of total offense in this game. They had 188 yards rushing and 207 yards passing. Tech dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 34:44. Florida State had possession for just 25:16.

Virginia Tech’s defense was exceptional, as usual. They knocked starting quarterback Drew Weatherford out of the game, and held FSU to just 267 yards of total offense. 24 of those yards came on a fake punt by FSU punter Graham Gano.

Xavier Adibi led the team in tackles with nine, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Sophomore rover Kam Chancellor also had nine tackles. Chris Ellis also continued his good play. He didn’t have any sacks, but he had five tackles, six quarterback hurries, and an interception returned for a touchdown.

Brandon Flowers also added an interception. It was his third straight game with a pick. The Virginia Tech defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage all day. FSU tailbacks combined for just 18 yards on 11 carries.

Florida State’s leading receiver, Preston Parker, had just one catch for one yard against Virginia Tech’s defense.


Florida State got the field position advantage early in the first quarter, and used it to jump out to an early lead. The Noles were forced to punt on their first possession, but Graham Gano pinned the Hokies at their own 8. Tech could not pick up a first down, and Brent Bowden’s punt traveled just 32 yards, going out of bounds at Tech’s 40.

The Noles advanced the ball just 16 yards to the VT 24 before being stopped, but that was close enough for Gary Cismesia. The FSU kicker nailed the 41 yard field goal attempt to make the score 3-0 with 9:43 remaining in the first quarter.

The Hokies struck for the first time on their next possession, and it only took them three plays. Beginning at their own 34, Tech called a running play for Branden Ore, who rumbled 18 yards for a first down. Sean Glennon went deep for Josh Morgan on the next play, and Myron Rolle was flagged for pass interference.

At that point Tyrod Taylor entered the game for the first time. After a modest two yard run on his first play, Taylor found Justin Harper in single coverage with no safety help. Taylor hit Harper in stride, and Harper walked into the end zone to give the Hokies the lead. Jud Dunlevy missed the extra point, and Tech led 6-3 with 8:16 left in the first quarter.

Late in the first quarter, Florida State made a big play on special teams, as they always seem to do against Virginia Tech. After their offense was stopped at their own 35, Graham Gano came out to punt. Gano rolled to his right after taking the snap, and seeing no Tech defender in front of him, ran 24 yards for a first down. The Hokies were caught totally off guard.

Florida State used the fake punt to add another field goal. This time Cismesia was good from 39 yards, and the game was tied 6-6 with 50 seconds left in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Tyrod Taylor provided perhaps the most exciting play of the season for Virginia Tech. Facing an impossible third and 31 from their own 34 against the vaunted Florida State defense, Taylor made a play that the average human can only dream of making. The call was for a conservative quarterback draw, but Taylor wasn’t content with a solid gain and then a punt.

Taylor made a couple of defenders miss, and then flew by almost everyone else playing defense for Florida State, on his way to a 38 yard gain and a first down at the FSU 28. Sean Glennon returned to the game, but was nailed on a scramble and knocked out of the game.

Taylor returned to the field facing third and five from the FSU 23. The Noles blitzed, and Taylor made the perfect read, going over the middle to Greg Boone. Boone dragged several Florida State defenders for a 16 yard gain. Two plays later Taylor hit Josh Morgan on a fade to the corner of the end zone for a five yard touchdown. Dunlevy’s extra point was good, and the Hokies led 13-6 with 12:29 remaining.

The next Virginia Tech drive began at their own 12, and the Hokies promptly marched 88 yards for a touchdown. After not moving the ball on the first two plays, Taylor found Josh Hyman for a 14 yard gain on third down to start moving the sticks. On the next play, Kenny Lewis followed the pulling Nick Marshman for a 17 yard gain to the right. Marshman made a crushing block in space to propel Lewis.

The Hokies went deep again on their next play. Taylor again found Justin Harper, this time for a 48 yard gain to the FSU 4. Two plays later Branden Ore found the end zone on a two yard run, giving the Hokies a 20-6 lead with 6:54 left in the second quarter. Neither team could score in the remainder of the half, and the Hokies led 20-6 at halftime.

The third quarter was a totally different game. Drew Weatherford was knocked out of the game in the second quarter on a brutal hit by Brandon Flowers. Backup quarterback Xavier Lee was suspended for this game, so the Noles turned to third string r-freshman Christian Ponder. Ponder had never played before, so there was no film for Bud Foster to study. He played well in the third quarter, and he added a running element that was very much unexpected.

Florida State began to cut into the Tech lead on their first drive of the third quarter. The key play of the drive was a 24 yard screen pass to Russell Ball. Although the Noles couldn’t find the end zone, they did get a 50 yard field goal from the reliable Gary Cismesia. That made the score 20-9 with 11 minutes left in the third quarter.

Florida State’s defense got into the act next. A third down pass by Tyrod Taylor was slightly overthrown, and deflected off the hands of the intended receiver. The ball landed squarely in the hands of Florida State linebacker Dekota Watson, who returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. The Noles missed the two point conversion, but Tech’s lead had shrunk to 20-15 with 9:06 left in the half.

Tech’s offense went three and out on their next possession, and FSU took over on their own 31. Ponder made plays with his feet on this drive, first scrambling for six yards on the first play of the drive. He later had a 22 yard run to the Tech 3. His speed was taking the Hokie defense by surprise.

After a false start penalty pushed FSU back to the 8, Ponder found De’Cody Fagg in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Again the two point conversion was no good, but Florida State led 21-20 with 3:41 left in the third quarter.

The third quarter belonged to Florida State. The fourth quarter was dominated by the Hokies.

They got things started on their second possession of the quarter. Tyrod Taylor began the drive with a 12 yard run, and then he found Justin Harper for a 45 yard gain down the sideline to the FSU 1. Harper was originally ruled out of bounds, but replay showed that he was inbounds when he caught the ball, and the play was reversed.

At this point Branden Ore was on the bench with an ankle sprain, and two runs to Kenny Lewis were unsuccessful. On third down Taylor dropped back to pass, but saw an opening in the FSU defense and ran it in for a touchdown. The Hokies went for the two point conversion, and Taylor threw a beautiful pass to the back of the end zone that was caught by r-freshman wide receiver Zach Luckett. With 10:10 left in the game, Tech was back on top 28-21.

Christian Ponder finally started to play like a r-freshman with no experience on the next FSU drive. He scrambled for an eight yard gain, but was hit from behind by Barry Booker. Ponder fumbled the ball, and it was picked up by Cam Martin, who returned it to the FSU 29.

The Tech offense drove the ball to the FSU 6 before being stopped. They settled for a 22 yard Jud Dunlevy field goal to make the score 31-21 with 5:32 remaining.

That was when the wheels really started falling off for FSU. Michael Ray Garvin dropped the ensuing kickoff, and was tackled as soon as he recovered it at the FSU 7. On second down, the Noles attempted a screen pass, but Chris Ellis read it perfectly. He stepped in front of the pass at the FSU 5 and returned it the short distance for a touchdown. With 5:13 left in the game, Tech led 38-21.

Ponder’s next pass was intercepted as well, this time by Brandon Flowers, who returned it to the FSU 14. The Tech offense couldn’t punch it in, and was stopped on fourth down at the FSU 1. However, the Hokie defense came through, tackling new quarterback D’Vontrey Richardson in the end zone for a safety, making the score 40-21 with 2:41 remaining.

Tech’s offense got the ball back, Jahre Cheeseman picked up a first down, and the Hokies took a knee and ran out the clock.

Virginia Tech is tied in the loss column in the Coastal Division with Virginia, who pasted Miami 48-0 in the Orange Bowl on Saturday. Regardless of what happens in Tech’s game with Miami next Saturday, the winner of the VT-UVA game on November 24 will represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship Game.

The Hokies will play Miami next Saturday at 3:30 in Blacksburg. The game will be televised by ABC.


                          VT         FSU
                        ----        ----
First downs               17          13
Rushed-yards          54-188      28-116
Passing yards            207         151
Sacked-yards lost        2-2         0-0
Return yards             150         134
Passes               11-19-1     13-33-2
Punts                 6-35.3      7-42.3
Fumbles-lost             3-0         2-1
Penalties-yards         7-60        7-45
Time of possession     34:44       25:16
Att: 66,233


RUSHING-VT, Taylor 17-92, Ore 16-40, 
Lewis 11-37, Cheeseman 3-12, Glennon 4-10, 
Weatherford 1-0, TEAM 2-(-3). 
FSU, Ponder 5-51, Gano 1-24, Holloway 4-16
Smith 8-12, Weatherford 2-7, Edwards 3-6
Parker 3-2, Ball 1-(-1), Richardson 1-(-1).

PASSING-VT, Taylor 10-15-204-1
Glennon 1-4-3. FSU, Ponder 8-18-105-2
Weatherford 5-15-46.

RECEIVING-VT, Harper 5-166, Ore 3-5
Boone 1-16, Hyman 1-14, Morgan 1-5.
FSU, Fagg 4-63, Carr 3-48, Ball 2-20, Smith 1-13
Shaw 1-4, Holloway 1-2, Parker 1-1.